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T-Birds reach Northern C semis

Chinook and Box Elder still alive in Northern C boys bracket

Fans of District 9C basketball may have still been a little in shock due to the fact that the Box Elder Bears were upset in the quarterfinals of the Northern C Divisional tournament Wednesday night. But, when the boys tourney resumed Thursday morning, the Hays-Lodge Pole Thunderbirds gave 9C fans something to smile about.

Playing in their first Northern C game in five years, the T-Birds pulled off a 59-57 win over District 10C runner-up Thursday in the Northern C quarterfinals at the Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls. The victory over Sunburst vaulted the T-Birds (16-6) into today's semifinals where they'll try to become the first team this season to knock off the Belt Huskies. That game will be played 5:30. Today's first semifinal will be between Highwood, which knocked off Box Elder, and Denton-Stanford-Geyser, which beat Great Falls Central 70-60 late Wednesday night.

And while HLP will be excited to play tonight with a chance to reach the championship game for the first time since the T-Birds captured the 2007 Class C state championship, their opening round game against Sunburst, another team with a lengthy absence from the Northern C, was high drama. HLP trailed for much of Thursday's game with the Refiners, including 35-26 at the half. But in the fourth quarter, the T-Birds turned on the offense, erasing a 47-40 deficit in the final eight minutes. HLP outscored the Refiners 19-4 in the final six minutes of the game, and got a big 16 points from Sterling White Cow. Tyson Shambo added 10 points and Jasper Lewis and Lance Strike each scored eight in HLP's exciting comeback.

"The difference was our speed and quickness," said HLP head coach Charlie Ereaux. "Finally we started getting it together. That's how we got here. We're the shortest team here, and we've got to make up for it with heart and hustle. We finally started getting rolling there in the fourth quarter."

In the other quarterfinal involving a 9C team Thursday, the Chinook Sugarbeeters couldn't come up with the same kind of comeback the T-Birds did. Early Thursday morning, the Beeters were sent to the loser-out bracket by Belt as the Huskies rolled to a 60-45 win.

Chinook's offense struggled to match the fast-paced Huskies, who jumped out a 18-8 lead in the first quarter, and led 38-19 at the break. The Beeters tried to play catch-up in the third quarter, but Belt, which shot over 50 percent from the field, was just too efficient offensively, and too sharp defensively for Chinook to muster a real comeback effort.

Senior Lane Seymour did all he could to help the Beeters, as he scored 14 points and made 10 free throws, but Belt's Koltin Haugrose countered with 23 points and three 3-pointers. Wade Schneider chipped in with seven points for the Beeters (17-7), who will face Sunburst in a loser-out game this afternoon.

Box Elder will also be back in action in a loser-out game today. And the Bears will still need to win three games in a row and hope Highwood doesn't finish second in order to have a chance to defend their state title in two weeks in Billings.

And while the task is daunting, the Bears showed no ill-effects from their shocking loss to Mountaineers on Wednesday night. In a loser-out contest Thursday night, the Bears returned to the Four Seasons Arena and easily dispatched the Power Pirates, 84-52.

Box Elder (21-2), led 40-18 at halftime, and the Bears really ran away from Power in a dominant second half. Clayton Morsette Jr., scored a game-high 25 points, while Jake Jones added 18 and Jerrod Four Colors chipped in with 15.

Now the Bears will have to upend 10C champion Great Falls Central this afternoon, then win twice on Saturday to keep their hopes of reaching the state tournament alive.

Hays-Lodge Pole 59, Sunburst 57

Sunburst 19 16 12 10 - 57

HLP 13 13 14 19 - 59

Sunburst - Austin Kimmet 19, Logan Simmes 10, Tyler Tharp 18, Jackson Nagy 4, Treyton Pickering 6. Totals: 19 13-18.

HLP - Jasper Lewis 8, Jace Shambo 2, Tyson Shambo 10, Damon Castillo 5, Lane Strike 8, Sterling WhiteCow 16, Frank Runs Above 4, Darnell Parisian 2, Tough Snow 4. Totals: 24 7-13.

3-pointers - Kimmet, Simmes 2, Tharp 3, T. Shambo, Castillo, WhiteCow 2. Total fouls - Sunburst 13, Hays 12.

Belt 60, Chinook 45

Chinook 8 11 9 17 - 45

Belt 16 22 10 12 - 60

Chinook - Lane Seymour 14, Ian McIntosh 4, Cody McCracken 5, Zach Schellin 6, Kyle McMaster 1, Travis Hamilton 7, Wade Schneider 8. Totals: 11 20-29.

Belt - Tristan Cummings 2, Harry Green 2, Koltin Haugrose 23, Parker McCafferty 6, Jaren Maki 11, Matt Metrione 6, Paxton Maki 8, Dusty Potter 2. Totals: 26 3-4.

3-pointers - Schellin, Hamilton 2, Haugrose 3, J. Maki 2. Total fouls - Chinook 14, Belt 20. Fouled out - Eddi Fernandez. Technical foul - McCafferty.

Box Elder 84, Power 52 (lo)

Power 10 8 18 16 - 52

Box Elder 19 21 18 26 - 84

Power: Kyler Holbrook 2, Tarren Lee 10, Chase Rossmiller 8, Lucas Kalanick 5, Andrew Jensen 6, Dominik Dunk 1, Seth Kitchin 19, Kreyer Hill 1.

Box Elder: Brandon The Boy 7, Tristan Bernard 2, Clayton Morsette Jr. 25, Jake Jones 18, Jerrod Four Colors 15, Elias Robertson 4, Quinn Baker 3, Pernall Morsette 4, Shane Ketchum 2, Jacob Bradley 4.


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